21 January 2018, Sweetcrude, Abuja — The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Sunday, expressed optimism that the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, recently passed by the National Assembly would ensure that the huge revenue loss to the country in the petroleum industry as a result of process lapses and outright stealing would be strictly checked if not totally eliminated.
NEITI, in a statement in Abuja, commended the decision of the Senate and the House of Representatives to consider the Bill as priority resulting in its eventual passage, describing it as bold, courageous and progressive, especially given the challenges the bill has passed through in its legislative journey for over ten years.
NEITI noted that the implementation of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) which Nigeria is a key signatory, have over the years been frustrated by the absence of a dynamic law that suits modern business modules and trends in the ever-evolving oil and gas industry.
It noted that its interest was in view of the urgency and strategic importance of a new law to replace the existing archaic legislation that has aided huge revenue losses, impeded transparency, accountability and investment opportunities in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
It said, “NEITI recalls that as an anti-corruption agency in the sector, it boldly alerted the nation last year through a special Policy Brief ‘The urgency of a new petroleum sector law’ that the current stagnation of investment opportunities in the petroleum industry was as a result of the absence of a new law for the sector. This has led to huge revenue losses to the tune of over $200 billion.
“In that publication which was widely circulated, NEITI argued that the ‘revenue losses were as a result of investments withheld or diverted by investors to other (more predictable) jurisdictions.’ The publication added that ‘The hedging by investors stems from the expectation that the old rules would no longer apply, but not knowing when the new ones would materialise.’
“In addition, NEITI Reports in the sector had also disclosed that over $10.4 billion and N378.7 billion were lost through under-remittances, inefficiencies, theft or absence of a clear governance framework for the oil and gas industry. The total cost to the nation in 2013 alone was N1.74 trillion largely as a result of the absence of a new law.”
NEITI further expressed optimism that the PIGB, when assented to by the President, would provide a dynamic governance framework required to re-position the petroleum industry to fully embrace competition, openness, accountability, professionalism and better profit returns on investments to both companies and government.
“NEITI is encouraged that the National Assembly in this particular instance threw politics aside and dealt with the PIGB issue with the attention it deserves. The PIGB now passed and ready for possible Presidential assent is a product of this creative initiative,” it added.